Your Bristol UCU Newsflash, 9th March

1) New Professional Services Staff Group

Are you in Professional Services? Think Bristol UCU could be doing more to represent the interests of Professional Services’ staff?

Then join our new Professional Services’ Staff Group. You should have received an email from your Professional Services’ reps this week asking for your views: this group is intended to prioritise the concerns of Professional Services’ staff in Bristol UCU and the University.

Email, if you’re interested.

2) Pay Campaign

Thanks to Michael Carley, South West Regional Chair, for speaking at our General Meeting last week. His message was clear: UCU has a strategy to win on pay. It has learnt from previous campaigns.

Following member feedback, we have submitted a reasonable pay claim of 5% and are compressing the negotiating period to enable us and other unions to take industrial action at the end of May, assuming a reasonable counter-offer is not made.

The facts on pay are stark and are highlighted in our new ‘Why Pay Matters’ poster.

Since 2009, the cumulative loss to your pay has been 14.5%. Across HE, staff costs as a percentage of expenditure have fallen. Yet universities, with Bristol as a prime example, have considerable surpluses. Money for large capital expenditure, but not for staff.

In branch president Tracey Hooper’s recent email, she pointed out ‘the exact form of action has yet to be decided but is expected to be a combination of national and local strike action, working to contract and a marking and assessment boycott’.

If you would like posters and literature to display in your workplace, please let know.

3) Bristol UCU Newsflashes – Now Archived

  • Where do I find the Bristol and Bath UCU joint statement on TEF?
    Want to refresh your memory regarding the Bristol UCU-backed withdrawal of car parking charge for disabled users?
    What 2 pay packet hikes are coming in April?
    What’s the South West Black Members’ Network?
    All a search away @

4) Teaching Excellent Framework (TEF)

TEF continues to be a top priority for UCU.

UCU have welcomed the recent findings of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee in their report ‘The Teaching Excellence Framework: Assessing Quality in Higher Education’.

The report notes ‘[i]n the absence of any agreed definition or recognised measures of teaching quality, the Government is proposing to use measures, or metrics, as proxies for teaching quality’.

The report also highlights ‘there is much at stake. A poorly designed or rushed TEF will not serve students, HEIs, Government or the taxpayer and could negatively affect reputations’.

UCU General Secretary Sally Hunt also welcomed ‘the committee’s recognition of the important link between casualised contracts and teaching quality, and urge the government to undertake further research into this area. Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, so if politicians are serious about quality they must act to tackle the widespread job insecurity that still blights the university sector.’

5) Alternative White Paper 2016

For those interested in plotting an alternative HE course to the one of Jo Johnson, University ‘leaders’, staff room ‘realists’ and Milton Friedman, one action point from the recent Second Convention on Higher Education is to draft an Alternative White Paper, in advance of the government’s in May.

A Google discussion group has been set up to that end:!forum/heconvention

The Alternative White Paper will be edited by the Campaign for the Public University’s John Holmwood. John was the main author of the 2011 ‘Alternative White Paper: In defence of public higher education’.

6) South West HE Sector Meeting Wednesday, TODAY, 14:00-16:00, Old School Rooms, Stoke Gifford, Bristol

Bristol hosts the HE Sector Meeting for all members in the South West; two minute walk from Bristol Parkway Station.

Agenda items include:
Pay Dispute
Green Paper
Attacks on National Framework Agreement

7) UCU Officer and NEC election results 2016

The results of the UCU officer and national executive committee (NEC) elections have been declared:

Vicky Knight from The Manchester College is our new Vice President for Further Education. HE UK-elected members include Jimmy Donaghey from the University of Warwick and Julie Hearn from Lancaster University.

8) UCU Annual Meeting for Staff on Casualised Contracts, 10:30 -16:30, Saturday, 11 March 2016

If you are on a casual contract – hourly-paid teacher; fixed term teacher or researcher – and would like to the Annual Meeting for Staff on Casualised Contracts this Saturday in London, please email